Development of an online cancer genetics educational resource for undergraduate and postgraduate healthcare learners

Genetic testing is becoming cheaper and easier to perform. As such, it is being performed more and more frequently; to help explain why people have developed cancer, or to try to identify genetic changes in their tumours to which novel drugs can be targeted. Genetic testing may also help identify individuals at risk of cancer, providing an opportunity to introduce risk-reducing strategies, which, as well as benefitting the at-risk individual, would be cost-saving from an economic perspective. With this shift towards personalised medicine, it would be expected that undergraduate and postgraduate medical education would also be modified to include additional teaching about genetic conditions and testing. However, because of limited numbers of individuals working in genetics in Ireland, this teaching is limited, or often delivered by non-geneticists. In Ireland, as part of my bigger research study, we are also piloting a new pathway for ordering genetic tests, so that genetic testing is being increasingly performed by non-geneticists at the time of a patient's diagnosis. Timely access to genetic testing benefits patients greatly; allowing personalisation of their theray, as well as facilitating preventative strategies in them and in at-risk relatives. However, it also means that non-geneticists will need to upskill in genetic counselling, and will need to improve their knowledge about the testing techniques and limitations. The aim of this study is to develop an online training resource for undergraduate and postgraduate healthcare trainees working with patients with cancer, that will inevitably be dealing with more genetic testing in the future.

Award Date
29 September 2017
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Terri McVeigh
Host Institution
National University of Ireland, Galway
Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme